Setting up Social Paper for your class or research group

Set up

Setting up Social Paper for your class or research group is easy, especially if you have already used The CUNY Academic Commons. However, if you are new to The CUNY Academic Commons, please first register using your CUNY email account and ask your students to do the same. After logging in, create a new group by clicking here, and choose a name that reflects your course title. During this process you will invite your students to become members of the group though you can always add more later. (You will also be given the option to set up a blog for your group, but for simplicity’s sake, we recommend not using the blog in addition to Social Paper.) Your students are now set up to use Social Paper to share writing related to the class!

To create a paper on Social Paper, students should log onto the Commons and click the “Create a New Paper” button on the top right of the Social Paper homepage, which will take them to Social Paper’s composition space where they can immediately begin composing. By clicking the gear in the bottom left of the composition space, students can access the settings panel where they can specify the permissions settings of the paper. By entering the course group name in the “Groups” field (with the help of autopredict), all members of the group will be sent a notification and link back to the paper. In addition, by clicking “private” or “public,” each student can determine whether they want their paper to be viewable only to the class, or available to view by the public at large. Each paper will also be given a unique URL, allowing interested students to share their papers through social media or email. In this way, each student can determine the level of publicity for each piece of writing. (For detailed instructions on creating a paper, please go here; for detailed instructions on sharing and following papers, please go here.) 

Features for feedback and networking

Social Paper has many commenting features to help foster peer dialogue. First, Social Paper enables paragraph-level commenting to solicit fine-grained feedback. Second, comments trigger notifications, so that paper authors can quickly view and respond to comments from their peers. Third, on public papers, comments show up on the Social Paper homepage activity feed, allowing students outside of the course to engage if interested. Fourth, authors and readers can “mention” other users within a comment to solicit a particular user’s feedback. Fifth, students can allow comments from the public (non-Commons members) if they choose. (For detailed instructions about commenting, please go here.) 

Beyond the class/group

Because Social Paper writing lives on the user’s profile rather than on a course blog, students can easily continue to engage with, share, reflect and comment upon — as well as make private — class writing long after the completion of the course. Furthermore, as students become more comfortable making their Social Paper writing public, the Social Paper public directory will strengthen the Graduate Center community by enabling students to easily learn and connect with the interests and research of other students outside of their classes, cohorts, or disciplines. Finally, we hope that use of Social Paper will stimulate student interest in further developing the tool and its use to better serve and understand the Graduate Center community. Thus, by using Social Paper in your course, you are helping promote Graduate Center peer collaboration as well as a participatory engagement with course technology.